I just read a review of a book entitled "A Heretic's Guide to Eternity". Normally, I won't comment on a book without reading it first, so my comments here are actually on the review itself - which may or may not reflect what the original author intended.
The reviewer quotes the author as writing:
"His [Jesus] message eradicated the need for religion. It may come as a surprise, but Jesus has never been in the religion business." I could not agree more. "Nowhere does Jesus call His followers to start a religion. Jesus' invitation to His first disciples was to follow Him." Again - I agree wholeheartedly.
What I saw that disturbed me was:
"A core of this is the rejection of the belief in the inherent sinfulness of humankind, calling for the suffering and death on the cross of God's Son, Jesus." If it was unnecessary for Jesus to suffer and die the death He did on the cross, then God is a sadist - and He is not. This 'new age' thinking that no one needs saving, that God would not send anyone to hell, goes totally against scripture. Scripture is clear that God is holy and will punish the unrepentant, Satan and his fallen angels in a very real place called hell. Yes, God loves everyone, and again, as scripture states, He desires ALL to come to repentance and that Christ died for ALL. But our sinfulness demands a blood payment and Jesus became that payment on the cross. One only need look into the mirror to see that we are ALL inherently sinful and self-centered. To argue this point is - well - proving the point it argues.
"Instead, the authors believe humankind is loved by God from conception and never needs saving from the wrath that would send them to hell. Instead, the real journey of the spiritual traveler is to continually move toward the understanding and experience of that surrounding and saturating Grace that has always been present, though we are often unaware of its existence." YES, humankind is loved by God from BEFORE conception, but our need for saving (or salvation) is by far greater than our need for oxygen. God's wrath, I believe, does not send the unrepentant to hell, but rather allows them to go there - by their own choice in life - to remain unrepentant.
I don't know that I will ever read this book in it's entirety. I have seen groups rising up, even locally, that promote this way of thinking that goes against all scripture - that by which I must weigh everything. But, do not take my word for it - take God's. Get into His word and see the truth for yourself. This truth is foundational to my faith and this thing I will defend with all that I am.